JEFFERSON — A 41-year-old Lake Mills man is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday in Jefferson County Circuit Court on one count each of child enticement and use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
Authorities learned of the crime through citizen witnesses from an internet monitoring group that tracks and attempts to catch child sex predators.
According to a Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office criminal complaint, Emmanuel McDonald visited the Pine Cone Travel Plaza parking lot June 22, 2019 with intent on having sex with a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl.
Starting about June 18, 2019, an adult woman who was a member of the internet monitoring group, had convinced McDonald she was a 15-year-old girl after he had gone to a website where people meet to arrange sexual encounters.
The criminal complaint stated that the female citizen witness met McDonald, online, at a time when he was going by the screen name of “John.” The witness said she originally told him she was 24-year-old, but later said she was 15. She and McDonald arranged to meet at a Days Inn hotel room in Johnson Creek for the ostensible purpose of having sex.
A man, who was working with the female citizen witness, went to the meeting point at the Pine Cone — that McDonald and the person McDonald thought was the young girl — had specified as their meeting point.
The man walked up to McDonald with his cell phone camera recording and the two discussed the meeting McDonald was to have with the girl. The meeting between McDonald and the male citizen witness was broadcast on YouTube and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office obtained a copy of the recording leading to the prosecution.
“In the video,” the criminal complaint stated of the meeting that took place at table outside the Pine Cone, “(McDonald) identifies himself. He gets up. Johnny (the citizen witness who has engaged McDonald in the video conversation) assures (McDonald) he is safe at that time.”
McDonald initially identifies himself as John. When the witness tells the man he knows his name is Emmanuel, McDonald admits that it is. McDonald says he was there to meet ‘Ashley.’ He says she is 18 years old. When the citizen witness tells the defendant that he has all of the chat logs and confronts McDonald about ‘Ashley’s’ age, McDonald says she’s 17. When the witness says that she’s 15 and he knows she told McDonald she was 15, McDonald admits she was 15.
When the witness asked McDonald what he was going to do with this 15 year-old girl, and asked if he brought condoms, McDonald started to pull a box of condoms out of a plastic Wal-mart shopping bag he was holding.
“He admitted he was going to ‘fool around and stuff,’ which was why he had the condoms,” the complaint stated. “The defendant said they were going to do this at a hotel.”
McDonald eventually walked away.
On June 27, a detective went to McDonald’s residence in the City of Lake Mills.
“The defendant said he went to meet someone he thought was 24 years old and found out she was younger,” the complaint stated. “When the detective pointed out that the text messages said she was 15, the defendant said he didn’t believe that. He said they started texting and were going to meet up and ‘have some fun and stuff.’ The detective asked if he meant sex, and the defendant said, ‘Yeah.’ The defendant said he bought the condoms he had with him at Walmart at about 10 p.m. on Saturday. He said the meeting had been arranged throughout the week. He made the reservation at Days Inn on Saturday online using his phone ... He said he deleted the messages between him and the girl.”
If he is convicted on both felony counts, McDonald could face a maximum of 65 years in prison and fines of $200,000.